A candy striper is a hospital volunteer who functions under nurse supervision. The name came from the traditional uniform that volunteers wore, that looked like peppermint candy, although this outfit isn’t frequently worn today. Previous generations of female volunteers wore pink and white dresses, but the modern candy striper will wear a uniform shirt with pants, as well as a hospital ID that lists name and position.
The modern candy striper is between thirteen and eighteen years of age and are typically female, because the role was originally created as a female job, but the number of men in the field is ever increasing.
These volunteers are integral to the success of the hospital, thanks to their interactions with both nurses and patients. Duties range, but are frequently constrained to clerical activities, as a result of insurance liability. Candy stripers usually work in reception, gift shops, and nursing and administration stations. Some will transport items between units, or visit lonely patients, but these jobs require more experience.
One of the candy stripers most important duties is attending to patients. Overburdened hospitals don’t have the resources to provide patients with frequent one-on-one care, past the necessary time spent diagnosing and treating. Candy stripers make a hospital visit pleasant by eating with, reading to, assisting or delivering items to patients. Though they fulfill many other duties, these are the primary jobs fulfilled by the volunteer.
Experienced candy stripers have a number of opportunities in a hospital to gain knowledge about the medical field. Seasoned volunteers clean rooms, transport records and drugs from unit to unit, and can bring in lab specimens for testing. Overall, older candy stripers will spend more of their time interacting with health care professionals than do younger candy stripers, who spend most of their time with patients.
Training for the job usually takes only a few days. Candy stripers are most frequently employed at teaching hospitals, because the volunteering experience allows pre-med students and those working towards an advanced nursing degree a chance to work with patients, while relieving the care staff of more menial duties. Many students volunteering at the hospital find the familiarity worthwhile, as it’s one of the rare chances for a high school or college student to get a hands-on learning experience in a medical environment.
Finally, there are a number of steps before you can jump into volunteering at your local hospital. You’ll need to complete an application, which includes references and parental consent if you’re less than eighteen years old, and interview. Should you be chosen to volunteer, you will need to take a tuberculosis skin test and undergo a physical exam. This ensures that you won’t infect patients under your care.
When applying to become a candy striper, it’s important to keep a dependable schedule. Be sure that you leave time every week for volunteering, as the experience is impossible to replace for those interested in the medical field.
To make your experience as a candy striper the best it can be, you must make sure that you maintain first-rate behavior at all times, because your conduct reflects on the institution you work for. If you are able to observe all hospital policies, you’ll be sure to get a great reference in the future.